Ten resolutions for a new year

Mike Cornell

1.) Review the shop and get organized.

Think of shop improvements to make your season go more smoothly. Maybe that means getting your ordering process online, so you can order from the road; or developing a new way to handle customer information; or reviewing your shop layout to move projects through the space more efficiently.

2.) Check out your OSHA awareness.

Are your fire extinguishers up to date and off the floor? Do you have all your extension cords grounded and your fuse boxes labeled? Do you have Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for all your chemicals, and are you storing them properly? Do you have emergency numbers posted, and have you held a safety review for your employees, so that they know what to do in emergency situations?

3.) Review your insurance policies.

Do you have the correct coverage for the operations that you perform? Do you understand your policy and the extent of the coverage should a loss occur? If you are going to be working onsite this spring, have you forwarded copies of the insurance certificates? Get it out of the way now, so you will not be waiting to work and will know what to expect in case of a loss.

4.) Evaluate and update your pricing.

Did you receive new catalogs with current pricing lists and have you updated your computer to reflect the increases on your invoices? If you did not, you will be losing money come spring!

5.) Check over your tools and equipment.

Perhaps you have a few that need repair, so now is the perfect time to get your sewing machine repaired and to check over the hand tools in your truck.

6.) Reduce waste. Do you currently recycle?

If so, can you recycle even more? Many upholstery companies will pick up the foam scrap for filler - you just have to ask them! Some new and used fabrics can be recycled. Awning Cleaning now collects the larger fabric scraps to create tarps for Americares. Paper, plastic bottles, and cardboard generated by employees can be recycled in most cities and towns. Scrapping your metal can also bring in a little cash! Also consider donating to a good cause, such as an afterschool program or a local theater group that are always willing to make something out of your scraps.

7.) Get your taxes in order.

If you haven’t already, start your paperwork sorting and get things in order for the accountant. April will be here before you know it. Budget now what you are going to owe or what you will make as a retirement contribution for tax year 2012.

8.) Get healthy.

Spring can be stressful on everyone, and by getting in shape, relaxing more, and making some healthy choices in your habits now, you can feel better when the season hits.

9.) Target your marketing.

How are you going to advertise for new customers this year? Be creative and get involved. You can team up with another company, such as a landscaper, an architect, real estate agent, or interior designer. Maybe teach a class at the local yacht club? You will be surprised what business you can drum up by being open to opportunities! Don’t forget about social media: if Mrs. Jones just loved the awning you put up over her patio, she just might "Tweet" about it to 50 of her friends.

10.) Remember to take time to enjoy running a business.

Stay in touch with your good customers - they are one of a kind and will not only bring you their business, but will refer business to you for free! Customer loyalty means a lot in any economy!

Now go get ‘em! Make this season count!

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